AT Planning

How do you go about   planning to hike the Appalachian Trail?

In my experience   DON’T …….. Okay  you have to do a bit

when I  came  out  to  hike the PCT  , I came  out  with reams of  paper spread sheets  that  I promptly  put  into the bin after the  first  week

So in No Particular Order

What will the weather be like?

Bad weather can completely ruin a long-distance walk – not to mention making it more dangerous – so make sure you know what the local weather conditions should be for the time of year, and prepare yourself accordingly

What maps and guidebooks do I need?

Maps are essential (as is a compass), There are several official guides  that  AT  hikers  take , Some  are  broken down  and  sent  up  the  trail  tso  your not carrying the whole guide , Also electronic  apps  for  smart phones are widely  used

Awol Guide

What distances do I need to walk, and over what terrain?

So what mileage can you do? Are you a seasoned hiker or green, The AT unlike the Pct. has straight ups rather than switchbacks, and so if you cruised doing 25s on the Pct.  you may  struggle to do 20’s

Below are three useful planners 

Northbound 12 miles per day

Northbound 15 miles per day

Northbound  18 Miles per day

With all these plans  they  ease  you in gently  so  you  get  your  hiking legs   slowly   and  so  don’t burn out by week 1 ,

Be flexible  when  using these plans ,
if  you   get  to camp early, THEN STOP !!
There is an urge to go on DON’T
Make camp let your body rest

What about rest days? 

Only you can know your limits, but it’s wise to build in too many rest days rather than too few. Rest days out in the countryside are always rewarding, but having to walk when you’re exhausted is another matter altogether.

Resting Hikers

Have I got the right equipment?

There are so many  pages and  blogs  of  what  Kit  to  take , should I  be Ultra-Light .
I wouldn’t advise being ultra-light unless you are a seasoned hiker, Otherwise this can be worse than being too heavy.
You want to be comfortable, warm and well fed not cold, miserable and hungry
but what you take is a personnel thing. The At is a long way  so  you will have plenty of time to  try  kit swap  out what doesn’t work  or  buy  what  works  well .


The AT  goes  through Many  towns  unlike the PCT  and  so  there is no need  to  carry  more  than  five  days  of  food  and  the  faster you hike  this  can  drop  to  four  days
But like many trails , your  main concern  will be water .

My Plans 

I will do a rough plan
concentrating on the first 2 weeks , and   resupply, Normally by  the second week you are in your stride(well almost)  you know what  you’re eating and know what mileage  you are comfortable  with .

I also   with do a spread sheet with the towns, and resupply points.
as  in coming from the UK, I like to use a bounce box  so  I will then guesstimate  where  I need to send  that  too,
I normally send  it  to a point around the 100  mile  mark,  this way  I  can swap any  kit  shake   down   etc. and too  a Post office , that way if I don’t need it  I’m not paying again . My next bounce point will be when I guesstimate my shoes will die    say around mile 600/700…
I then research  places  where I may   need to send  food drops, although  I believe the AT  isn’t  bad

So that’s my Draft plan,

where am I flying too?

The airport is normally fairly easy ,followed by where am I flying home from.
Then its  guess the trip duration ,Always  better  to allow  more  time as then you can change  your  flight  .

Where am I staying?

Hotel, Hotel, Trail Angel ,I like to unwind after my flight, resupply, chill, recheck my gear, Buy any last minute items, organize my Phone sim,

How do I get to the Trail?

is there a shuttle , bus train ? 

What shall I do in an emergency?

Hopefully you’ll never need to use it, but it’s essential to have a plan in case of emergency. Do you have a mobile phone that works on the trail? If so, do you have the relevant number for the emergency services? It’s also important to leave your itinerary with someone you know, or the local park authorities, so they can track you down if you don’t check in on your return. Other things to take are an emergency bivvy bag, a whistle and a basic medical kit.


The best way to become a good walker is to go out there and walk.
There’s no better way to learn about what to do than by actually doing it.

AT Trail


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